"I am relieved to learn from the Government of Bulgaria that the three Bulgarians who had been abducted in Darfur, while working for the World Food Programme, are now out of harm's way, and will soon be reunited with their families and friends," Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said today, as the three men were released after 175 days in captivity.
"As the European Commissioner for humanitarian aid, but also as a Bulgarian and a mother, I share the joy of the three humanitarian workers - Branko Chorbadjiiski, Alexander Dimitrov and Veselin Manolov, their families and all my fellow Bulgarians," the Commissioner said. She expressed her gratitude to all who had worked tirelessly to secure the safe release of the aircrew, in particular the Government of Sudan, the Bulgarian Government and WFP.
Despite its happy resolution, this abduction highlights the increasingly insecure and volatile situation in which humanitarian workers operate in Darfur. "This threatens the safety of humanitarians, but moreover, it can interrupt and delay aid to desperately needy civilians in Darfur who lead a life of indiscriminate violence, starvation and need," Commissioner Georgieva reiterated. "I call on all who have influence to ensure the safety of humanitarians, so that they can continue to help the millions of people whose lives rely on humanitarian assistance," the Commissioner said.